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If a Harvard policeman ever has to draw his gun, odds are he will actually remember how to use it. Patrolman Ted Lewis is one man who will largely be responsible if he does.
As a special assignment, Lewis is a firearms instructor for the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD). Along with Sgt. Ted Hesse, Lewis is in charge of the department's firearms qualification tests, which are given twice a year.
During these tests, officers must demonstrate competence in the use of handguns, and become "refamiliarized with their weapons and with new developments in laws and shooting techniques," Lewis said yesterday.
Lewis said Massachusetts allows individual police departments to decide what determines competence in this area. Harvard police are tested on accuracy, loading and reloading with both hands.
The department considers as competent a score of 350 of a possible 500 points. Lewis said about 10 per cent of Harvard police tested do not qualify the first time, but that all of these people pass the second time. "There is nobody other than an invalid who can't make the qualifying score, in my personal opinion," Lewis said.
Lewis's opinions are grounded on a thorough knowledge of firearms. He has been trained in combat shooting at Smith and Western Academy in Springfield, Mass., and at the National Rifle Association Police Firearms Instructors Training School at Camp Perry, Ohio, where he taught last summer. He has also been certified by Boston's Board of Education to teach firearms at the New England Security Officers Training Academy.
Because of his experience with handguns, Lewis supports stronger handgun legislation. He said that he favors stricter licensing procedures and stricter punishment for the use of handguns in crimes.
Lewis strongly recommended a 20-year minimum sentence for the use of a gun in a crime. He said, "My personal opinion is that possession of a handgun during the commission of a crime shows that a person is willing to take a life while committing the crime. That person is very dangerous."
Lewis said he feels that a course of instruction at a firearms academy should be mandatory for anyone seeking a gun license, because the most dangerous gunowners are those who are ignorant of guns and gun laws.
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